Monday, September 20, 2010

Recycled Rubber Handbags

An obsession of mine for a while, and I find that you have to keep experimenting with just about anything before you get it exactly right. Thus the plethora of recycled rubber handbags in my wardrobe. 

These are made from recycled truck tire inner tubes. After experimenting with studs and rivets I finally settled on using a hand awl and sewing them together for the best and most durable results. Most of the clasps and D-rings (used to attach the shoulder strap) came from a bin at the Depot for Creative Reuse for about 25 cents each.

You use the natural curve of the tire and the bags pretty much make themselves (after you do a little geometry and math). What makes the rubber more interesting is the wear pattern, printing, and patching.

In subsequent posts I'll show close-ups of bags that reflect more creative playing around. Where do I get the rubber? If you've got an art car and drive out to the industrial netherlands of East or West Oakland to a station that services semi-trucks, the grizzled guys who work there tend to believe you when you say you want some old, unusable truck inner tubes destined for the waste pile for art. They let me pick and choose whatever I want for free. Heavy duty preliminary washing of the rubber is required before crafting can proceed.

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